Calling a spade a spade is easy enough when you live in a small monolingual and mono-cultural society – such societies are necessarily small. But try doing that in a multilingual and multicultural place like Malaysia and you quickly realise that a lot of empathy, skill and tentativeness, especially, are involved in daily communication.
And I am not even thinking of the fact that all languages are full of dialectal nuances and class-based preferences; or that most people do not – and know that they do not – master their language of choice.
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